Once you've cut the right size of aida cloth for your project, you'll need to determine where the center is. 

To find out where to start, fold your fabric into quarters before securing it in the hoop. The point where the creases meet is where the center of your design should go, which is marked with a star on your pattern. From there you can count the number of stitches to where you want to begin. Or just start in the middle!

Once you've found the center, secure the fabric in your hoop.


Reading Your Pattern

watermelon cross stitch how to
Each square on your pattern represents one X on your fabric. Your aida cloth is just like your pattern grid. Each hole is the intersection of two grid lines, or the corner of a square on your fabric. 


separating embroidery floss the stranded stitch

Embroidery floss comes in strings of six strands that you can easily pull apart. You must separate each string before threading your needle by carefully pulling out one individual strand at a time.

If your floss is not pre-cut like in a kit, cut an 18 inch length of floss and then separate the individual strands you're going to use.

Thread your needle with two strands of the individual thread you separated. 


Once you’ve threaded your needle, start at the back of your fabric and pull the thread through leaving a ½" long tail with one end of your thread at the back of your fabric.

how to cross stitch secure your thread

Stitch your first couple of stitches over the tail to secure it, making sure only one end of the thread is secured. The other end should be free so that your needle isn’t trapped and your stitches are only two strands thick.

threading your needle cross stitch how to


how to make a single cross stitch

For single stitches make each X one at a time. Start at the back of the fabric and bring your needle up through the fabric at #1, then back down at #2. Finish the X by going up through #3 and back down at #4. Your needle should be in the back of the fabric again.

how to cross stitch diagram

For rows with multiple stitches of the same color, first make a row of half stitches across the length you need. Then work backwards in the opposite direction to complete the Xs. After you complete a row, your needle should be on the same side of the row as where you started.

When you've completed one row move on to the next closest row.

When you’re done with the thread you’re using - either because you've finished all the stitches of that color in the section you're working on or you've run out of your length of thread - secure your thread tail.

With the needle still threaded and at the back of your fabric, go back through a few of your stitches to secure your tail. Cut off any extra length. If you're left with a lot of extra thread after you've secured the tail keep it for later!

cross stitch how to secure thread


Some helpful youtube tutorials!

How to cross stitch 

How to read a pattern

How to use an embroidery hoop

How to separate embroidery floss